17 dicembre 2014

Il Buon Gigante che prende le sembianze di George Washington, come da celebre ritratto di Williamstown, è un'idea grafica di Ray Shulman: accompagna la riedizione estesa e migliorata - ma tuttora incompleta - del concerto che i Gentle Giant tennero il 3 luglio 1976 a Hempstead, Long Island (Stati Uniti) alla vigilia dei festeggiamenti del bicentenario della Dichiarazione di indipendenza: Live at the Bicentennial 1776-1976, doppio cd per Alucard.

Quirky English quintet Gentle Giant shot off a few musical fireworks on the eve of the 200th anniversary of America’s independence. The July 3rd gig at the Calderone Theater in Hempstead, New York was recorded for broadcast on local radio (WLIR) and surreptitiously made the rounds in tape trading circles over incipient decades. Now that patriotic performance is receiving an official release from the band’s own Alucard label. Gentle Giant members acquired a re-mastered copy from Rich Hilton and - notwithstanding a couple minor disparities in the mix - felt it was suitable for public consumption. Accordingly, Gentle Giant: Live at the Bicentennial 1776-1976 showcases the nimble rockers at their “unedited, uninhibited, and unrepentant” best. It’s the group’s first bona fide “live” album in years (arriving eons after 1977’s Playing the Fool) and is of markedly superior quality to any prior bootleg of said concert.
The significance of the occasion wasn’t lost on bandleader / vocalist Derek Shulman. “Good evening, Long Island!” greets the burly, bearded singer on disc one of the 2-CD set. “It’s a monumental evening for the U.S.A., having kicked Britain out of Boston and dumped all that tea into the harbor.” “Tonight, we’re going to make peace!”. Not that Shulman and company had anything to reconcile with this American audience, who can be heard screaming for “Giant!” well before the five-piece takes the stage...